Papaya waste upcycled for nutritious snack bars in Ethiopia

20 Apr 2021

Papayas have long been praised for their enzymatic content, but they are now also finding a role as a key ingredient in snack bars made locally in Ethiopia thanks to their nutritious profile and widespread availability.

A new public-private partnership between the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Danish International Development Agency has teamed up with Ethiopian food producers and Arla Foods to ensure that local companies have the technology and the resources to repurpose the 30% of papaya pulp that is wasted annually as a result of spoilage.

Papaya waste upcycled for nutritious snack bars in Ethiopia

Arla Foods has devised a prototype snack bar recipe combining papaya pulp with whey protein that is fortified with vitamins and minerals before it is dried and packaged. While the whey protein does not currently come from Arla, the company noted in a statement that it may provide that key ingredient in the future, but that it is currently focused on product innovation for the four-year project.

As part of the company’s efforts, it is working with local producers to ensure they have access to the necessary technology and expertise to produce these bars that are simultaneously combatting food waste and malnutrition in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government is striving to reduce malnutrition-related stunting to zero by 2030.

In conjunction with developing a nutrition bar to repurpose papayas destined to become food waste, the coalition of enterprises is working with researchers at Addis Ababa University to investigate solar drying processes that are low cost and maximize nutrient retention. Developing a solar drying process offers the opportunity to preserve a larger quantity of this tropical fruit for processing as both locally-available nutrition bars as well as other applications.

With more than 890,000 farmers relying on papaya as their source of income, devising a solution to preserve and repurpose the 30% of this crop that is wasted annually will result in a boost in market availability and sales for Ethiopian farmers.

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